Final blog of the tour. Some...CLOSURE :-)
Tommy's freshly shaven upper lip...his grey's sufficiently covered by the 'blindly' chosen chinese branded hair dye. The language barrier proved an issue in the colouring stakes, we all held our breath in anticipation the end result would resemble the picture on the box. The long-awaited ceremony resulted in copious amounts of laughter for everybody.
We grouped together in the treatment room- Tommy succumbed to the fact he must shave his 25 year old moustache and rid his hair of its aging grey (further enhanced by his role with our team- I'm SURE of it). 6 months ago the agreement was made- if and when we qualified for the World Cup.... Yet another bonus as a result of our success.
WE ARE GOING TO THE WORLD CUP NEXT YEAR IN GERMANY.
WE ARE CHAMPIONS OF THE ASIAN CONFEDERATION.
WE CREATED HISTORY.
We've done it. The Matildas have created history of our own!!! We have earned the title of Asian champions, the first senior national team to do so. We battled, held on, backed up, proved ourselves against some of the best teams in the world.
How many emotions can one group of humans experience in just a week and a half.
Personally, the level of fatigue in my legs during the GF against North Korea i have never experienced before. It's now three days later and my legs still feel so weary. 120 minutes of football on a pitch which was shaping up to be a pig sty.
The torrential downpour weighed your boots down like lead, the ball was impossible to control, when you assumed the ball would hold up it skimmed away and vice versa. Number one rule adopted by us: NEVER assume. Just get the ball in the box was the message from the bench, the amount of times i tried to swing my leg back and punch my saturated boot through the ball, no elevation or distance.
It was important for us not to adopt the 'holding on' mentality. We had to believe we could dominate the play out there, rain or no rain.
120 minutes of football later- no result. Penalties= Terrible way to lose but a terrific way to win.
I was striding up to take the first one for the team...an insight to my mind... "bottom right, shoulders back, head held high, bottom right, trying to walk on my toes, please don't cramp, please don't cramp, bottom right, breath Sal breath, take your time, no eye contact with keeper, stretching feels so good, bottom right, fix your socks, are your laces tied?, bottom right, serious look, line it up and BBOOOOOOM, oh Sal that wasn't the best but you've scored. TURN and smile at your team-mates!".. Im sure the ladies all had a similar experience out there in the spotlight. We bantered about it briefly post-match, although dancing soon took over. I have no idea where we all found our second wind for dancing... But i won't elaborate on that.
NO rest for the wicked- Katie Gill and Heather Garriock flew directly back to Europe to play out their season's. Clare Polkinghorne flew to the US at some ungodly hour. Aivi Luik, Servet Uzunlar and Tameka Butt will all depart Australia over the next week destined for Canada. Sarah Walsh and Lisa DeVanna have flown to Adelaide for some medical appointments (please fix them up, we need both of you). Teigan Allen and Sammie Kerr should be settling in back at school- perhaps 'settling in' won't be the most accurate description, but good luck girls, speaking from experience- Schools important and it is possible to juggle your education and football. So proud of them. As for the remainder- we have flown in to our home cities- resting up for a couple of days and back in to our state programs.
The next year will entail many trips away, overseas or down to Canberra at the AIS. Soon i will base myself in Sydney again. Keep my degree ticking over, complete a photography course along the way. Gain some work experience in at the FFA and just wait to see which direction the lights of the big city shine for me.
Im looking forward to all things Football and life really, its an exciting time for football in this country. The numbers participating in the sport are soaring high.
Thus far the success of the Socceroos and Matildas combined- we are creating the perfect foundation for the sport to develop in this country. What a beautiful journey we have before us.
Will be watching and supporting the Socceroos. Good luck Boys!